Ge­net­ics fo­cus in four lec­tures

De­mys­ti­fy­ing ‘scary’ topic

Central Otago Mirror - - CENTRAL NEWS - By CHE BAKER

Otago Univer­sity pro­fes­sors and doc­tors will be in Alexan­dra next month to host ge­net­ics lec­tures. The lec­tures are part of the South­ern Science Se­ries, a na­tion­wide lec­ture se­ries run by Ge­net­ics Otago - Aus­trala­sia’s largest multi-dis­ci­plinary group of ge­neti­cists - and will in­clude dis­cus­sions on the ethics of ge­net­ics tech­nol­ogy, ge­net­ics and breast can­cer and how honey bee ge­net­ics can im­prove health. Ge­net­ics Otago spokes­woman Sophia McKay said the lec­tures were aimed at the pub­lic to share the ‘‘ground-break­ing re­search’’ be­ing con­ducted at the univer­sity. Peo­ple of­ten thought the word ge­net­ics was scary and the lec­tures would dis­cuss how it was used as the ba­sis for a lot of re­search stud­ies, Ms McKay said. A lec­ture would be held ev­ery Fri­day at the Alexan­dra Com­mu­nity Cen­tre for four weeks, start­ing Au­gust 2. They will be kicked off by Cen­tre for Law and Pol­icy in Emerg­ing Tech­nolo­gies as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Colin Gav­aghan. Mr Gav­aghan will dis­cuss the law and ethics sur­round­ing ad­vances in ge­net­ics tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing preim­plan­ta­tion ge­netic di­ag­no­sis – the di­ag­no­sis of a ge­netic con­di­tion be­fore preg­nancy. On Au­gust 9, the Cen­tre for Trans­la­tional Can­cer’s Dr Anita Dun­bier will talk about her work in breast can­cer and the ad­vances be­ing made in per­son­alised medicine. On Au­gust 16, zool­ogy pro­fes­sor Gra­ham Wal­lis will host a Why Ge­net­ics Mat­ters lec­ture dis­cussing the im­pact of ge­net­ics on our ev­ery­day lives from medicine, agri­cul­ture, con­ser­va­tion, sys­tem­at­ics and evo­lu­tion. Also on Au­gust 16, the Depart­ment of Anatomy’s Dr Ann Hors­burgh will dis­cuss south­ern African pre­his­tory and his­tory. On Au­gust 23 Ge­net­ics Otago di­rec­tor Peter Dear­den will dis­cuss why honey bee ge­net­ics might im­prove your health.

Photo: EMMADAWE

His­tory: Cromwell’s Max Birtles and his wife Kathy, shortly af­ter Mr Birtles was made an hon­orary life mem­ber of Old Cromwell Inc in recog­ni­tion of his com­mit­ment to the es­tab­lish­ment and growth of the group since 1987. Mr Birtles re­ceived the award dur­ing the of­fi­cial open­ing of the Cromwell Post and Tele­graph Of­fice. Mr Birtles was one of the orig­i­nal in­sti­ga­tors who had the vi­sion of re­build­ing Old Cromwell Town in the 1980s. The open­ing of the Cromwell Post and Tele­graph Of­fice marked the com­ple­tion of Old Cromwell Inc’s re­build­ing pro­ject which has seen four build­ings com­pleted. Chair­man Adrian Somerville said the group would now con­cen­trate on the re­fur­bish­ment of the for­mer McNulty prop­erty which the Cromwell Com­mu­nity Board pur­chased last year to be used by Old Cromwell.

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